Should Every Baseball Field Be Exactly The Same Shape?

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I know this argument isn’t new, but my OCD does not allow me to be okay with the fact that every baseball stadium has different field dimensions. A home run in one park is a routine fly in another. Could you imagine hearing, “That’d be a 3-pointer if we were playing in Philly”? Keep the diversity in the stadiums themselves and make the field dimensions standard. Then you got teams like the Mets who have moved the walls in twice at least since the stadium opened a few years ago.

But arbitrary field sizes and wall placement are what make baseball so MAGIC! Every stadium is a magical snowflake where no two urine puddles are exactly alike! What if they had to raze the GREEN MAWNSTAH just to make Fenway Park conform? That wall is really important to people. Because it’s green, and it’s a wall. So much history in that random partition.

Anyway, yes, it’s fucking weird that no two MLB stadium outfields are alike. In a sport where stats and metrics and player comparisons are so heavily fetishized, you would think uniform field shape would be important. But baseball is a crazy old sport with a number of crazy old quirks that are impractical and stupid, but have been around for so long that they essentially define the game’s personality at this point. Also, whenever a team builds a new ballpark now, they make sure to have the architect include at least one weird wrinkle so the place is distinctive. That’s how they push it through the approvals process: “The hot tub in center field will make us unique! That’ll be $700 million pleeeeez.”


If you started MLB again from scratch, you’d never have weird outfield dimensions, or one league with a DH and one without, or rules that allow you to walk out of a dugout and, like, look really ready to start some shit without actually starting some shit, or any of that weird crap. But the sport fell into those quirks over time, and the quirks have become permanent argument installations. If you’re drunk at the ballpark (I recommend this), and the game is dull, you can always point at some flaw in the stadium design and be like, “Fuck’s up with that?” BOOM. You just burned 20 minutes arguing about nothing. The system works.

So I’m fine with the current MLB ballpark setup. In the grand scheme of things, outfield dimensions are a fairly minor concern. It’s not like Camden Yards has FIVE bases instead of four (oh, but if it did). The diamond itself is uniform and serves as the bedrock. And since a baseball field isn’t rectangular like a football field or basketball court or hockey rink (hockey rinks are iPad-shaped, actually), it’s hard to plunk one down in the middle of a city without messing with the outfield to make it fit. That means teams can get a little bit more creative when they decide to build a patio 200 feet out in right field to help out their kick-ass left-handed power hitter.



Imagine a world where Gordon Ramsey has one terrible shithole of a bar/nightclub, but is convinced it will succeed. What would happen if Jon Taffer rescued it? Would either one of them survive, or would they both explode in a raw-chicken-induced Chernobyl-style meltdown?


I think Taffer would win the standoff, because Ramsay strikes me as someone who is angry on television mostly for show, whereas Taffer is a legitimately insane person who probably goes home at night and argues with his houseplants. “Yuh telling me that you can’t absorb nutrients anymore-uh? SHUT IT DOWN. SHUT IT ALL DOWN.” The whole reason Bar Rescue exists is because someone looked at Gordon Ramsay on TV and said, “What if we could do the same show, but with an even more unreasonable person?”

I would like to see the success rate of any bar or restaurant featured on these shows. It has to be close to 0 percent. They basically force every episode into the same story arc. This bar sucks! Uh oh, here comes Jon. Oh no, the bar owner is stubborn! But now he’s incorporated a couple of new techniques, and maybe things will turn out okay! They NEVER turn out okay. Every time they did an update of Kitchen Nightmares, Ramsay would go back to the restaurant, and it had reverted back to being the same shithole it was before. Any show that rests on the conceit of terrible people changing their ways is bound to prove ineffective in the long run.


By the way, someone (not me) should go photograph all the houses that were built a few years ago on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I bet those joints look like Athens Olympics venues by now.


If you’re rich enough, is there any reason NOT to be cryogenically frozen when you die? I mean yeah, maybe they stick your head on a tuna can and whack it with a crowbar, but you’re dead, so who cares? And on the off chance they really can bring you back to life, what do you have to lose?


Yeah, but fuck those people. Being cryogenically frozen means forcing your loved ones to care for and maintain your severed head. That’s a pain in the ass. I don’t wanna have to schlep to Phoenix once a month just to dump more ice in your head-cooler. One of the side benefits of a loved one dying is that you don’t have to do any more favors for them. No more phone calls. No more Christmas gifts. You’re FREE. With cryogenics, you’ve basically handed the ward of your estate a second, unpaid job. It’s a cock move.


I feel like I’ve become almost incapable of enjoying anything from contemporary pop culture, no matter how fleeting or lightweight it is (infectious pop song, weird viral video, whatever). The reason is that even as I’m taking it in for the very first time, I start to mentally jump ahead to the various thinkpieces and takes that will be written about it … and, obviously, the elements that will be deemed problematic. I can’t articulate exactly why this annoys me so much, why it absolutely ruins my enjoyment, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of the first signs of transforming into a crusty old Republican. Right?


Probably. Although I think part of that is just naturally growing older and watching shit with a more critical eye. You can’t help but see more subtext in things and evaluate the piece of work as you go, which is annoying. I’d much rather just WATCH Mad Max: Fury Road than sit there and think to myself, “Wow, they really subverted traditional gender roles here!” Kinda takes you out of the moment.

Like I’ve said before, critics now tend to evaluate shit solely based on the subtext and not on the story being told right up there on the fucking screen. But sometimes that happens as you get older. You’re fussier. Also, with the scourge of instant recaps, people are lot more into the background of movies and TV shows. Everyone is an armchair showrunner now, evaluating plot detours and character motivations in microscopic detail, and figuring out what THEY would do better. The analysis becomes a priority over the initial enjoyment, which is why Gregggg Easterbrook isn’t as a big a fan of NCIS as he used to be.


In general, I think a lot of people from both sides of the political spectrum have grown a little bit tired of the Problem Internet. Even Patton Oswalt has bitched about it, and that guy is thirsty as hell. I was around for the big Political Correctness boom of the early ‘90s, when PCU came out and there were big scary Newsweek covers about it and shit. “We might have to spell it WOMYN now!” Things calmed down a bit after that, and they probably will again. No one wants to feel like they’re living in a world where everyone acts as Big Brother to each other. I think we’d ALL like to be able to make quality Hitler jokes again. HEY, HOW ABOUT THAT HITLER? WASN’T HE CRAZY?!


At what point should a grown man not eat pudding cups? I’m 44, and my wife, bless her heart, packs my lunch all the time. Most of the time it has your normal stuff in it—sandwiches, leftover lasagna, etc—but today I had a pudding cup that normally would have gone in my daughter’s lunch. Now, I’m not complaining much about something chocolately, but I felt weird eating it, like it was illegal for anyone over the age of 14 to eat chocolate pudding in public. What should I do?


Eat it. EAT IT. Live dangerously, man. One of the side benefits of parenthood is that you get to eat childish foodstuffs all the time: popsicles, pudding cups, McNuggets, Gogurts, Halloween candy, etc. It’s a second wave of immature junk-food enjoyment, so don’t waste it. One day, my kids will be out of the house (God willing), and there will be no more push pops in the freezer, or trips to Wendy’s, or any of that shit. There will only be Greek yogurt and flaxseed to eat, and I will be bereft. Take advantage and eat the things that make you happy.


How much more would you pay for car repairs if they let you drop off the car at 7 p.m. and pick it up at 7 a.m. totally fixed? I say most people would pay at least $150 more, because it saves them from wasting a day.


I’d say $150 is a bit steep, but I’d definitely pay five extra bucks or something for some kind of guarantee that my car would be ready within a day, either at the close of business or right at the opening. There’s nothing worse than dropping the car off, and then calling to check on it, and they haven’t even GOTTEN to it yet. It’s just sitting in a fucking lot somewhere. And then they finally open the fucker up and WHOA HEY, turns out your Toyota’s muffler ring broke, and the part was discontinued in 1988, and they have to special-order a custom muffler ring from Albania at a cost of $5,000. Gonna be a few more days! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHH… I don’t think it’s much to ask for a car to run perfectly at all times and never ever break, despite the fact that I abuse the gas and brake pedals like an angry Russian.


How come there’s no Offensive Player of the Year in basketball? Seems weird that they only have a Defensive Player of the Year award. It makes even more sense this year: Curry wins the MVP, Harden wins the Really Great, But Still Kinda Sucks at Defense award.


I’m fine with not having an OPOY award, because the MVP is basically the same thing. You ain’t handing out the MVP to Dennis Rodman, you know? MVPs in basketball (and football and baseball, really) are judged by their ability to do lots of cool offensive shit that helps win games. The OPOY award in football is really just a bit of award inflation designed to reward a non-QB, because QBs are ALWAYS more valuable in football, no matter what. That positional gulf isn’t as big of a problem in the NBA, so you can basically conflate the two awards.

There should be fewer awards in sports. I am not a crackpot. These leagues are milking award presentations for ratings to the point where there will be an official category of Best Cadence at the NFL Honors Banquet. THE PUSSIFICATION OF AMERICA CONTINUES UNABATED.




What is the correct age/life situation during which to retire from rec-league softball? (Assume the bottom-of-the-barrel, talent-lacking, one-game-a-week type of softball.) I’m the oldest guy on the team (34), married, have a 1-year-old baby, am out-of-shape, and have back problems. All the other players are younger, most are single, and the few married are childless. I convinced myself it would be possible and fun to keep mixing it up with these guys, but after one game in the spring season, I have a sinking feeling that I Brett Favre’d this thing.


You have a baby? You’re done. Fun is no longer a realistic option in your life. Those softball leagues are for young KEWL singles to get together and get shitfaced and hit on each other. You don’t have much use for that anymore. You’re there for LOVE OF THE GAME, which makes you old and annoying, and no one will want anything to do with you now. Never be the oldest guy on the team. I bet you wear a knee brace when you play.

Then again, I’m probably the wrong person to ask. I quit my touch-football league because a) I had kids; b) I had to drive to Virginia every week to play, and Virginia sucks; and c) I popped a disc running down the field and had to get surgery a few days later. I am no longer built for the game. I AM COMING TO TERMS WITH MY OWN MORTALITY. The other day, I hung out at a local pool and did a few jumps off the diving board. I still hurt. Just from jumping off a board into water. The slightest deviation in movement and I’m a dead man. It’s not right.


Anyway, if you still feel like you’re capable of playing, and you enjoy the company, and you can fit it into your schedule, you should feel free to keep playing forever. Plenty of middle-aged dudes play rec-league basketball and hockey and race in local cycling tours and are fit and active and I hate them all. But if you start to feel like you can’t do it or that you don’t fit in, maybe you ought to retire with your dignity intact. You could custom-order a plaque for yourself that says, “I went out a WINNER.”


How much money would it take to lure a mediocre NFL quarterback to one of the horrible European pro-football leagues? Let’s say Mikhail Prokhorov or some other crazy billionaire buys the Helsinki Roosters and decides he wants to make a splash. How much money does he have to offer Kirk Cousins over the next three years to get him to come? Would 40 million a year be enough?


I think $40 million a year would do it, even if pro athletes tend to be both delusional AND xenophobic. They all think they’re right on the verge of becoming superstars (“I just need to find the right opportunity!”), and they’ll usually only play in foreign leagues when they have no other choice. That’s giving up to them, essentially. I mean, look at Tim Tebow. He wouldn’t even play in Canada, he was such a snob about it. That’s crazy. They’re all too proud to go slumming it with the Istanbul Scimitars.


I was reading this random article about the Dodgers’ recent moves when I get to this nugget about Andrew Friedman: “Friedman likes to walk around pumping a squeeze ball in his hand. He does it less to release tension than to initiate interaction. He’ll toss the ball at people—colleagues, reporters, anyone he needs to get information from. His job is to evaluate and make decisions. He needs as much detail as he can get to make good decisions, so he initiates and engages people to get it.”

Holy shit, that is the gimmick of a horrible boss. I can’t imagine the sense of dread that must come over his underlings when he’s bouncing that stupid-ass ball near them. I wouldn’t be able to ever look him in the face, because I’d be staring daggers at the ball, hoping it stayed put.


Yeah, I don’t trust this man at all. Or his ball. I would grow to loathe that ball. Why wouldn’t he just say, “Hey, man, what do you think of trading Yasiel Puig for a box of soda?” if he feels like ideating with people? I don’t see how the ball is necessary in that exchange. WHOA HEY THAT GUY TOSSED ME A TENNIS BALL, HE MUST MEAN BUSINESS! I bet that dude read about that technique somewhere in a book. “Master the art of persuasion with just a Nerf ball and a smile.” People like this aren’t to be trusted. You shouldn’t have to resort to gimmicks when you want to know if the manager is into the idea of a seven-man rotation.


At the end of Snowpiercer (spoilers, obviously), there is a girl and a boy left alive, and it’s kind of assumed that these two survivors will repopulate the earth. This kind of ending has been done before, but I always get hung up on it. Two people could not possibly pump out enough kids (a good mix of boys and girls, of course) who then have to bang their siblings for generations to make that work. What is the magic number of survivors? I’m thinking we need at least 40 couples left in order for the human race to have a chance of rebuilding.


If fertility isn’t a problem, it’s not exactly impossible for two people to repopulate the earth over the span of several generations. If two people make four kids (two boys and two girls, with maybe a few extra pregnancies to get the numbers right), and then those kids get coupled off (EWWWWWWW GROSS), and each had four mutant kids of their own, and the process repeated itself ad infinitum, you could reach a million people by the 20th generation. Man, I bet that would make for one ugly new species: third nostrils, ear penises, etc. It could be done! You just have to WANT it. Put the Duggars in charge of repopulation and they could do it with virtually NO ethical reservations of any kind!


Our neighbor plays Olivia Newton John’s “Magic” at 5:30 p.m. every day. I’ve never actually met this neighbor because he/she lives in a separate building in our condo, but the music is turned up loud enough that it makes the walls vibrate, and this literally happens every day at the same time. I have my own theories about it, but what do you think is going on over there?


Gotta be a workout thing, right? The neighbor gets home from work, tosses on some Lululemon gear, and warms up with a couple of plank poses or something to her favorite old ONJ song. I used to start off every workout with “Millionaire” by Queens of the Stone Age. That was my walkup music. HERE COMES THE DREW.

Or maybe the neighbor is practicing some kind of routine. Like, maybe he or she is a figure skater who has a frozen bedroom floor, and they use it to practice triple axels for an upcoming meet. Not out of the realm of possibility! Or maybe your neighbor just has a regularly scheduled 5:30 p.m. crying jag, and Olivia really brings out the tears. You could make a decent Apple Watch ad out of that moment. “Oh, look! My watch is reminding me to be human again.”



There are certain people/groups of people that the majority of the internet seems to collectively hate: Nickelback, Skip Bayless, Darren Rovell, etc. Is there anyone from the List of Loathing that you actually genuinely like? Someone who, if you admitted it to a group of reasonable folks, would draw an appalling reaction? My pick: Colin Cowherd (please don’t hold this against me).


I thought Dane Cook’s first Comedy Central standup special was really funny. I have no clue if he pilfered all the jokes from other comics to put the set together, but I laughed when I watched it. He does an impression of a snake! HILARIOUS. This was before he ended up hosting Saturday Night Live and starring in terrible movies and becoming the internet’s go-to example when they need a quick douchebag reference:

“That guy Bob is such a douche!”

“How douche-y?”

“Kinda reminds me of Dane Cook.”


I also think Kevin James is very funny. On his own, like in standup specials and stuff. I’m sure the Paul Blart movies are shitty, but I liked The King of Queens and stuff. (For TV writing jobs, I once wrote a spec script for that show in which James’ character gets really into popping his collar; the script did not get me work.) And of course, I never tell anyone this because internet peer pressure is strong, and I’d rather die of leprosy than be viewed as having bad taste. In 2015, people view bad taste as a mental disability. “Poor Jimmy. His son likes Nickelback. They had to send him to a special school.” I’ve got a rep to maintain. I can’t look bad in front of @HartyFarty69 on Twitter.


Also, you’re a monster for liking Cowherd. Fuck that guy eternally.


What do you think is the worst regional trait that each major region thinks is a virtue? I would say Northeasterners claim that their habit of acting like assholes is really straightforwardness, Southerners insist their saccharine sweetness is hospitality, Midwesterners flaunt their modesty, and Westerners (or maybe just Californians) pretend not to care about anything just to make you feel like a jerk for caring.


I think you pretty much nailed it, except that I would say that Midwesterners’ worst virtue is their phony niceness (which is really just poorly disguised passive aggression), and Southerners’ worst virtue is their slowness. “’Round here, we take our time. We savor life.” You sure as hell do. You could wait nine years in a Georgia grocery store aisle. Some of us have lives, man. GET YOUR FUCKING ASS IN GEAR. Southerners are also way too into formality as well. I know they think it’s fun and special to put on seersucker suits and Derby hats and serve sweet tea in glass pitchers, but that just reminds me even MORE of slave-owning. The seersucker isn’t helping.

Hey, we got TWO emails of the week this week. Lucky you.


When I was in middle school, I had a serious phobia about taking a shit in public places, and school was the worst. I would often hold a shit all day and try to make it home so that I wouldn’t have to use the boys’ room at school.

There was this super-cool kid in sixth period who did whatever he wanted, and he liked to blow ass as loud as possible at the back of the room because he thought it was hilarious. One day after lunch, my stomach was really rumbling, and I had a fart coming that I knew was going to be poisonous. I held it until sixth period, made sure to take a seat near the cool kid, and waited patiently for my moment. Finally, about 10 minutes before the end of class, he let out a blast that even the teacher heard at the front of the room, and I immediately let out a soft squeaker that filled the room with a death cloud of shit stench. Students starting screaming and gagging; one girl had tears coming out of her eyes. The whole time, the kid who’d let out the loud fart was proclaiming his innocence, saying that his farts didn’t smell bad. I looked him right in the eyes and said, “Come on man, everybody heard you do it.” It was a wonderful victory for socially awkward kids everywhere.



So I used to teach second grade at an international school in China. Our brilliant management decided to house the school building in the red light district, so we had some seedy people around the school. One day while I’m teaching, one of the kids shouted, “Hey, there’s a naked guy wondering around outside!” I figured the kid was just trying to get attention and told him to sit down. Of course, everyone ignored this, and 15 kids decided to look outside at the naked guy. I went to the window, and sure enough, there’s a naked Chinese guy with matted hair combing the ground for used cigarette butts to smoke. I told the students to sit down and I went back to teaching.

Later that day, I started asking teachers and staff if they had seen the naked homeless guy outside the window. Everyone responded, “Oh, that’s Naked Guy.” As if having a naked homeless guy wandering around outside of an elementary school was perfectly normal. Remarkably, no parents had complained, and the school seemingly had no plans to do anything about Naked Guy. I learned that some teachers had tried giving him clothes, but every time someone gave him clothing, he quickly discarded it.

As the year went on, I forgot about naked guy, except once in a while I would catch myself saying something like, “Hey Tim, stop looking at Naked Guy and keep reading.” Every time I reprimanded a student for looking at Naked Guy, I thought, “This is crazy.” Eventually, Naked Guy disappeared. The kids didn’t seem to mind, but 20 years from now, they’ll look back and think, “I can’t believe my parents sent me to a school in the red light district where I saw a naked guy wandering around while reading.”


Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He’s also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at You can also order Drew’s book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.


Illustration by Sam Woolley.

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